Writing the Love Letter
It is a delicious coincidence that this article is being written on a Day of Love – Feb 14, Valentine’s Day. We have one day in the year dedicated to celebrating Love (however commercial that celebration!) Of course, we could live in unconditional love and acceptance in every moment of our lives.
That is what the Buddha offered us. The love the Buddha talked about is not the romantic love of lovers, not the complex relationships of family or the sweet bonds of friendship. It is the unconditional love and compassion that is the expression of the Intelligence That Animates. It is what we experience as Life, as our authentic nature, when we awaken from the illusion of being a self, a someone, an ego separate from Life.
Moving beyond ego to find this “love” sounds like a tall order when we are starting out on a spiritual path. But there is a simple exercise that gets us there. Here is the exercise:
Find a comfortable spot. Get out your favorite writing implements and compose a love letter to yourself. Make it the love letter you have always wanted to receive. What have you always wanted to hear from someone who loves you, sees who you are, knows everything about you, and has your best interest at heart? What would they say to celebrate the person you are? How would they encourage your dreams, support you in a time of difficulty, or share in your successes?
Once you have written the letter, record it and listen to it three times in a row.
It is amazing how much resistance people have to doing this simple exercise.
A possible range of comments on what arises for people as resistance:
"How New Age!"
"What’s the point?"
"I don’t want to do it. I don’t feel like it."
"It’s silly, dumb."
"How is this Zen Buddhism?"
What would resist saying I love you?
This resistance allows us to get in touch with a habitual and unexamined conversation in our heads. If we pay attention even for one moment to that monologue, we recognize it to be judgmental, unsupportive, grumpy, irritable, churlish, and sometimes hateful. The subject of this soundtrack can be summarized as “there is something wrong” with you, with me, with life, the world, the universe.
- We do not live in a conversation of well-being. We live in a conversation of dissatisfaction.
- We seldom hear about all that is going well — all the love, kindness, empathy, and abundance in our lives. We only hear about the anxiety, fear, confusion, and anger.
- We don’t live in a conversation that is loving. We live in a conversation that is self-hating. And then we spend lifetimes seeking the love we never seem to receive.
The practice of Recording and Listening allows us to tune in to another channel: the wisdom, love, and compassion that is Life, that is our true nature. It assists us in finding the love that we ARE.
What stops us from doing this practice, this simple exercise, is a taste of what keeps us from having a life experience of joy, love, and peace.
As Rumi said: “Our task is not to seek for love, but to seek and find all the barriers that you have built against it.” And transcend those!
So risk it. Go up against that resistance. Give in to love. Allow yourself to be loving and lovable. Open to the possibility of being embraced by lovingkindness.
If you haven’t yet begun a Recording and Listening practice, the exercise outlined above is the perfect place to begin. If you already have an R/L practice in the works, now’s the perfect time to add this to your playlist.
The Guide talks about recording a Love Letter for ourselves.